A rose by Judy Dench’s name would smell as sweet

Photo: David Austin RosesPhoto: David Austin Roses

Dame Judi Dench has been in numerous movies, and now the woman well-known for her role as 007’s demanding boss has also been recognized for having a rose named after her.

While attending the preview of the Royal Horticulture Society’s Chelsea Flower Show this week, Dench went to see the special rose hybrid called the Rosa Dame Judi Dench.

Grown in an Albrighton-based nursery, it took Shropshire grower David Austin eight years to perfect the apricot-colored rose.

“We are delighted to name this rose after one of Britain’s most beloved stars of stage and screen, ‘Dame Judi Dench,’” Austin told HortWeek.

The cultivar starts with red-tipped buds that eventually open to reveal ruffled rosettes that are a rich apricot and pales toward the edges of the petals.

Like the 82-year-old actress it is named after, the rose is a “particularly tough, reliable and healthy variety.”

It is a vigorous grower and produces strong stems to hold mounds of blooms. While in flower, the petals are resistant to rain damage and drop neatly, according to the grower.

When Dench went to smell her special rose, it prompted a sneeze.

Austin says that the rose has “a lovely, light-medium fragrance, which combines classic tea with a fresh note of cucumber and a hint of kiwi.”

Austin also introduced two other breeds during the show, named ‘James L. Austin’ and ‘Vanessa Bell.’

Judi Dench certainly isn’t the first person to have rose named after her. There has been a long tradition of this since 1906. The first rose to be named after someone was a rambling rose named after Dorothy Perkins, Charlie Perkin’s granddaughter.

Charlie Perkins’s company he formed with Albert Jackson is still one of the top US rose growers today.

Other notable individuals who had roses named after them include Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana and Barbara Streisand. For a full list, click here.

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